The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A photo of the Chinese women’s national football team was shared on social media, questioning their appearance.
- An unaltered photo of the Chinese women’s national football team was published with an article on July 21, 2021, by Xinhua Net, a subsidiary of Xinhua News Agency. The photo was taken by reporter Lu Yang.
- When comparing the faces of the players in the photo published by Xinhua Net with the faces of the footballers in the photo published on Facebook, it appears the Facebook photo has been digitally edited to change the features of the female players. Therefore, the Facebook photo has been altered.
- Our ruling: The photo has been altered.
A photo was shared Feb. 8, 2022, on Facebook that claims to be a group photo of the Chinese women’s national football team. The caption, written in traditional Chinese, translates as: “What? Chinese women footballers? No wonder they can be the champions!”
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup 2022 final took place Feb. 6, 2022, in Mumbai, India. From two goals down, China beat South Korea 3-2 in the final and won a record-extending ninth Asian Cup trophy since its last title in 2006.
As of the issuance of this report, the post had been shared four times, and had received 32 comments and 98 likes or reactions.
A reverse image search found a photo of the Chinese women’s national football team that was published with an article on July 21, 2021, by Xinhua Net. The article is titled “Women’s football group match: China vs. Brazil.” The photo was taken by Lu Yang, a journalist with the Xinhua News Agency. Parts of the article were later quoted by other media outlets, such as the Southern Metropolis Daily.
A comparison between the Xinhua Net photo and the Facebook photo shows that the faces of the players in the Facebook photo have been altered. Some of the players’ hairstyles, expressions, and faces appear to have been digitally edited.
Therefore, the photo has been altered.
- Facebook post, Feb. 8, 2022.
- Ming Pao, “China beat South Korea in AFC Women’s Asian Cup to win the championship for the ninth time 16 years later,” Feb. 7, 2022.
- Xinhua Net, “Women’s football group match: China vs. Brazil,” July 21, 2021.
- Southern Metropolis Daily, “Chinese women’s football team lost 5-0 to Brazil in Tokyo Olympics opener,” July 21, 2021.